THE Electoral Commission has navigated a political minefield and come up with a referendum question and campaign spending limits acceptable to all sides.

It is not an inconsiderable achievement, but the watchdog did its job so well that those once controversial issues barely merited a mention at Holyrood.

Instead, MSPs focused on the commission's unexpected call for the UK and Scottish governments to work together to explain the next steps in the event of either a Yes or No vote.

The plea follows question-testing at focus groups that revealed widespread confusion among voters about what would happen in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

The Electoral Commission has not asked for the two governments to "pre-negotiate" the possible terms of an independence deal ahead of the vote, something all sides agree is impossible.

But it wants them to do more to explain the process of negotiations that would follow a Yes vote or what might happen next if Scots opt to remain in the UK. The Scottish Government has already requested what it calls transition talks with the UK in a bid to list the issues that would be up for negotiation (Scotland's share of military hardware, or conditions for keeping the pound, for example), identify legislation required to grant independence and establish a possible timeframe. The idea was rejected by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore earlier this year but he sounded more receptive after the Electoral Commission's intervention, promising to discuss a Government paper on the negotiation process with counterparts in Edinburgh when it is published next month.

It is less clear, though, whether the two governments could shed much light on what would happen in the event of a No vote.

The main pro-UK parties are all considering their own proposals to increase devolution, which could form the basis of manifesto pledges in the run up to the 2015 Westminster election. Unless or until they come up with firm plans, the two governments could not say more than that.